FEMA Flood Map Updates

Flood Hazard Map Updates

FEMA has begun a new round of updates to Flood Insurance Rate Maps. 

The initial Discovery Process is underway or will be starting up in the near future for following watersheds:

  • Missiquoi Basin, plus the rest of Franklin County (direct to Lake Champlain drainages) and Orleans County (Memphremagog Basin):
    • Discovery meetings for the Missisquoi basin were held in the spring of 2017
    • Discovery for the rest of Orleans and Franklin County were held late 2017
  • Middle Connecticut Basin (Vernon Dam south into Massachusetts, only Vernon and Guilford included in VT):
    • Discovery meetings held late November 2018
  • West & Deerfield Basin (south-central VT as far north as Stratton, extending south into Massachusetts):
  • Lamoille Basin (Lamoille, Chittenden, far southern Franklin and Orleans Counties, and far western Caledonia County):
  • More news is anticipated for background engineering studies in 2019 for basins in Addison, Caledonia, Essex and Orange counties

The Discovery Meeting is the kick-off meeting for map update work initiated by FEMA and their contractors. Currently FEMA organizes its mapping efforts based on watershed.  HUC-8 sized watersheds are the larger basins in Vermont that are typically used by the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) for organizing basin plans, and include the Missisquoi River, Winooski River, the Otter Creek, the White River, the Passumpsic River, the Battenkill, etc. The HUC-8 watersheds can be viewed on the ANR Natural Resources Atlas. Find the "Tactical Basin Watersheds "layer" under the heading: “Watershed Management”.

The Discovery meeting is the start of the Discovery process where FEMA and their contractors compile the available relevant information to be included or considered for flood hazard map updates. It is through this process that FEMA solicits information from local communities and the State or other Federal Agencies to better understand gaps in hazard mapping and identify other mapping efforts and information that may be available.

The funding for the Discovery process and remapping efforts are often done in phases, with each phase being funded separately. As long as the mapping funds continue to be appropriated by Congress, we typically anticipate the re-mapping process, from the Discovery meeting extending to final draft maps and the local community map adoption process from ranging anywhere from 3-5 years.

This effort will ultimately update the Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the communities in the study areas.   are the basis of your adopted flood hazard regulations and flood insurance requirements and risk rating.  In addition, the Risk MAP effort will provide related tools to facilitate flood hazard mitigation planning and communication of flood risk.

More on Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Special Flood Hazard Areas:

Rebecca Pfeiffer, Northwestern Regional Floodplain Manager
John Broker-Campbell, Southern Regional Floodplain Manager
Sacha Pealer, Northeastern Regional Floodplain Manager